For most people, the winter season is filled with parties to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Seniors — especially those who live in senior living facilities — often report feeling more lonely than ever during the holiday season. As we enter the holiday season, it’s important to remember the older adults in our life who may need an extra dose of cheer.
Visiting loved ones around the holiday season can be stressful. Make sure to set aside time just for spending time together. If you are nervous about visiting a loved one, plan one of these fun activities!
- Make (and eat!) your favorite sweet treats.
- Watch a sappy movie. The great thing about Christmas movies is that they have a happy ending and are easy to follow.
- Take a drive around the neighborhood to check out the great decorations.
- Look through old family photos. You could even use this time to hang some favorites on the wall or put together a small album.
- Reminisce about holiday gatherings from years past. These great memories will leave your loved one with a warm fuzzy feeling even after you leave.
- Decorate a gingerbread house. Use a large candies or marshmallows to make the job easier for arthritic hands.
- Talk about fun winter activities like skiing or ice skating.
- Bring nail polish and moisturizing lotion for an impromptu manicure. Touch is important. For many seniors, the only touch they experience is from their caregivers.
- Drink hot chocolate while listening to carols. Music, taste, and smell are all important parts of making new memories.
- Help a child write a letter to Santa.
- Video chat with family and friends who won’t be able to visit. Your loved one will probably appreciate having tech support on hand.
- Decorate their living space with some of their favorite decorations from home.
- Share a meal together. In a facility where meals are served, make sure to tell the staff ahead of time. Whether you bring food in from outside or eat in the dining room, the staff need to know how much food to prepare.
- Do some shopping for gifts. If your loved one has a hard time getting out and about, consider bringing a device to help them shop online.
- Play a card game. Simple games like Go Fish or Uno are a great way to keep your mind active while still giving you a chance to visit.
- Attend a worship service at a nearby church.
- Watch a home video from an old family event like a wedding or birthday party.
- Read a chapter from a favorite book or a short story that you think they’d like.
- Talk about events going on in your community. After moving to a senior living facility, it can be hard for seniors to still feel connected to their community.
- Visit with other residents and listen to some of their stories. You’ll get to know your loved one’s neighbors and maybe help them make a new friend.
The holidays can be tough for seniors. Do something fun to share the magic of the season.